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Ask the Expert: Body Image

Q:  I avoid the gym because I’m afraid people will think I’m too fat to be there.  What can I do to feel more comfortable at the gym?


Beth LeermakersA: Beth Leermakers, Wellness Counselor:

People often assume that others are judging them.  However, chances are good that the folks who are working out aren’t paying any attention to you.  Many people are so busy worrying about what others are thinking about them that they don’t even notice the person on the treadmill next to them.  Another possibility is that those gym regulars are impressed that you are working out. 

Keep in mind that they were new to the gym once, too, and perhaps they too have lost weight.  When you allow your concerns about what other people may be thinking to keep you away from the gym, you are giving away your power to those unknown individuals.  Do you really want to allow strangers to control your behavior?

Instead of saying “I can’t go to the gym,” ask yourself “How can I go to the gym?”  Here are a few strategies that may help you feel more comfortable:

–  Wear workout clothes that you feel good in

–  Go when the gym isn’t as crowded

–  Go with a friend

–  Ask for an orientation and/or instruction on how to use the equipment

–  Work out with a personal trainer


Have a question?  The healthy lifestyle experts are here to help!  Email cmaddox@hhhealth.com with your question and check back every Thursday for our feature column.

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